Monday, July 26, 2021
The enterprise of protecting religious freedom would be straightforward and simple if all members of a political community agreed about our obligations to God and to each other or if governments did not do very much. In our communities, though, people disagree—sincerely and reasonably—about things that matter. And, governments do a lot. Conflicts, therefore, between some official actions and some religious commitments are inevitable. The law must manage these conflicts, in ways that are predictable and transparent, without denigrating those who dissent from the majorities of the moment or whose aims and aspirations depart from official policy.
Fulton’s clear ruling will not put an end to disagreements between those who endorse an expansive and expanding understanding of the role and reach of anti-discrimination law and those who continue to embrace longstanding teachings regarding marriage, family, and sexuality. To cursorily label as “bigotry” or “discrimination” the determination of persons or groups to act in accord with what they regard as—indeed, what they know to be—the truth is an unworthy strategy for negotiating these disagreements.